Western Victoria, western victoria Australia

Irrewarra is a winemaking project by Nick Farr, who is known for his exceptional Pinot Noir and Chardonnay at By Farr in Geelong. This time, Nick has sought out a new frontier in Western Victoria, near the small town of Irrewarra (150 kilometres west of Melbourne).

The name Irrewarra, an Aboriginal term meaning ‘long spear throw’, is a nod to the traditional hunting and farming country found here. Cows, sheep, wheat, hay and woodland abound, and the region is characterised by lakes, volcanic plains and marshland.

Irrewarra’s small three hectare vineyard was planted in 2001 by John and Bronwyn Calvert, who run a renowned sourdough bakery in the town. It is predominantly planted with Pinot Noir, with just under one hectare of Chardonnay. The vineyard sits at the top of a slope facing large water reserves to the north. This beautiful agrarian landscape is exposed to the elements and receives a high amount of rainfall throughout the year: 750mm annually compared to 550mm in Geelong. This extra rainfall is important at Irrewarra, falling over a greater number of months compared to the drier summer months in Geelong. The soils tend to remain very moist due to their high clay content and thus contribute to the wines’ distinctive cool-fruit profiles.

The Pinot Noir is de-stemmed, unlike at By Farr, to ensure the delicate fruit character from this cool zone is not influenced by additional tannin. It is fermented in open-top oak vats using indigenous yeasts. The wine is then aged in a combination of new and used Allier oak barrels for 18 months. It displays precise, sappy and earthy cherry fruit. The fine-grained tannins and vein of bright acidity are supported by subtle, warming baritone-notes of spicy oak. The Chardonnay is whole-bunch pressed and also fermented in Allier oak barrels, where it usually achieves full malolactic fermentation after the cold winter months. It is detailed and poised, with well-defined lime-blossom and lemon essence, layered with chalky inflections, and leads to a long finish.


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